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Sealed With A Kiss presents…SWANS guests XIU XIU
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Sealed With A Kiss presents…
SWANS + guests XIU XIU
Thursday, September 6th
Tickets are $23 and are available this Saturday, June 2nd at Ticketmaster.ca + Ticketweb.ca + Zulu Records + Red Cat Records.
After years of pursuing Angels of Light and recording and producing a diverse roster of artists for his Young God label, Michael Gira has decided to reconvene his legendary group Swans. As he says: “THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After 5 Angels Of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that. “
The core group constituting Swans for this phase is Michael Gira / guitar / voice / mendicant friar act (original swans); Norman Westberg – guitar (original swans); Christoph Hahn – guitar (mid period swans and most angels); Phil Puleo – drums, percussion, dulcimer etc (final swans tour and most angels); Chris Pravdica – bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din); Thor Harris - drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, keys (angels, now also with Shearwater)…
This highly anticipated album is as powerful and diverse as anything Gira’s done, in Swans or otherwise. It opens with the epic, soul-crushing (bone crushing?) No Words/No Thoughts, but quickly veers to more pastoral terrain, then on to ever-ascending mono-tonal grooves, a filmic-folk idyll featuring Devendra Banhart on lead vocal that abruptly shifts to cataclysm, then on to more airplane-taking-off ascensions, art songs, and more lethal sonic pummeling. In short, this is the new SWANS album, a significant advance from where Swans left off and as challenging and emotionally demanding as ever.
Increasing frustrated by the (self imposed) constraints he’d set for himself in Angels of Light, Gira decided that the direction he wanted his music to take would be more appropriate under the moniker of the group he started in 1982 and retired in 1997. Though the new album retains an attention to detail in orchestration, and an underlying sense of melody on many of the songs, there’s a deliberate shift towards sonic intensity, relentless, maniacal rhythms and alternately abrasive and soaring waves of electric guitar, qualities those familiar with the always-shifting sonic approach of Swans over the (now first) 15 years of its’ existence will recognize. This record immediately feels like Swans but is also obviously unique and moving into new territory. ?
FROM MICHAEL GIRA:
The Seer took 30 years to make. It’s the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it’s unfinished, like the songs themselves. It’s one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.
The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and forcefeeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they’ll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.
Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my goal is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I’m a fluffy kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy!
Praise for ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To The Sky (2010) “The Swans are currently the greatest rock band on the planet...” The Quietus
“[Gira] is looking for beauty, pure and simple, unfettered by meaning or standard songwriting notions of emotional resonance.” – The Wire
“a majestic return and, let us hope, a harbinger of more to come.” BBC “The rule book is torn up and incinerated here, but this shouldn’t even be a surprise, considering that’s what Swans made a career doing. Surprise! Swans aren’t dead.” FACT “pleasing proof they can outstrip even the most fearsome reputation.” The Guardian
“Swans beauty is best with great beauty, black wings to another world” NME “Swans are alive, utterly. A terrible beauty is reborn” The Wire “Monstrous, beautiful, satisfying” Mojo
“... For the last two years, one of the world's most bellicose bands has paid respect to its legacy largely by leaving it alone and tried to expand it by testing its old limits. Here, they do just that, beating past successes with the purpose of the present and showing that... this is exactly the kind of forwardpointing roadmark Swans deserve.” Pitchfork
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